By Lynnie Stein / March 6, 2021

Summer Wine

You can make this brew several ways and produce a number of results.

With the help of the naturally occurring yeasts on the skins of the fruits, simple ingredients can be transformed into a good-time alcoholic bevvie.

Strong flavoured berries such as mulberries, blackberries, loganberries and strawberries produce tasty wines, as the tannins in their seeds provide robust and full-bodied flavours.

Blueberries make a milder wine. Pit fruits such as plums and cherries make fantastic wines, especially wilder varieties, as they contain a bit of bite.

Another uncommon but very palatable wine is rhubarb, mild but blends very smoothly with strawberry and loganberry.

Apples and pears produce well-rounded fruit wines but tend to be much sweeter and buttery than berry or plum wine.

Get creative and enjoy the many possible seasonal and foraged flavours.

Some prefer to call ”wild” yeasts ambient or indigenous yeasts.

You are not introducing any additional yeast to do the work.

The species present depend on what flowers, fruits, trees and grasses are in the locality.

On some fruit, like some plums or muscatel grapes, you can see the naturally occurring yeasts (“the bloom”) that the fruit produces to out-compete other microorganisms that may want to grow there.

But other fruits have these natural yeasts on them too, you just cannot see it.

Like all fermentables, this recipe is about good quality ingredients – you want your water un-chlorinated and your fruit as organic and as fresh as possible to ensure a happy result.

Here is a starting point

One 4 liter jar

1 kilo of whole seasonal fruit

2 litres un-chlorinated water

250gm organic sugar.

First, dissolve the sugar in the water in a separate bowl.

Then pour over the whole fruit, placed in the 4-litre jar.

Stir and stir and stir again!

Put on the kitchen bench, leave the jar uncapped, cover with a cloth to keep out bugs, and stir multiple times a day to re-submerge the fruit.

Stirring multiple times, a day is central to this ferment.

Every time you stir you are doing multiple things; drowning any moulds that might be thinking about starting to grow on the fruit at the surface, adding air to the brew, and agitating the overall ferment.

In a few days (depending on various conditions like the temperature of your fermenting lair and the natural yeasts on your fruit) the jar will start to bubble!

And a few days later, the bubbling will calm down – at this point, remove the fruit (will be  tasteless) and either drink or proceed to further ferment your young country wine – by periodically releasing the pressure from the lidded jar, or by applying an airlock, which allows oxygen out but nothing into the bottle. Place the bottles out of the sun where they will not be disturbed.

Taste it every week or so until to your desired taste and strength.

Can syphon and store for 1 – 3 months, allowing the wine to further ferment. Letting the wine age longer will change the flavour, but will give it more of a grape wine, as opposed to a fruit juice flavour.

A mulberry wine can be aged up to one year.

Note: Do not despair if the taste is not to your tastebuds.

You can still turn it into vinegar by taking off the airlock, covering with a cloth and rubber band and letting the liquid ferment again with wild yeasts. As with any fermentable / foodstuff, if something goes awry and your brew smells off or tastes badly wrong, do not consume – toss in the compost, and start again.

Fruit wine vinegars are excellent additions to any kitchen cupboard.

Use vinegar to deglaze pans, add tang to vinaigrettes, sauces, and even desserts and drinks.

Vinegar breaks down protein fibres, so adding to bone broths, soups, curries and stews, marinades or braising liquids will help tenderize meat and bring out the minerals in bones. 

Love and bacteria, Xxoo Lynnie


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